What is nation’s highest bicycle tax?

My virtual tour of American bicycle legislation led me to discover Hawaii Revised Statute 249-14, which imposes a $15 registration fee for all bicycles with wheels greater than 20 inches in diameter.

This fee goes into the county bikeways fund and is used to build and maintain bike facilities and for cycling promotion and cycling safety programs.

The $15 registration fee is payable on bicycle purchase, whether it’s bought new or used. Bicycle registrations do not need an annual renewal.

Does any state or local government charge more than $15? California cities that require registration generally charge a nominal fee of $1 to $3 annually, though some cities charge nothing.

The Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community of Davis, CA charges $10 for a three year license, with $5 to renew every three years thereafter. If you keep a bike more than nine years in Davis, you’ve exceeded Hawaii’s $15 fee. After a dozen years, you’ll have met the $25 excise proposed by Washington State Democrats. You arguably get something in return for licensing in Davis, because the police actually check stopped bikes against their stolen bike database.

Does anybody in the United States charge more than $15 for a bike license, registration or tax?

Hawaii’s bicycle registration law is a wonderful example of legislative writing, incidentally. HRS 249-14, with 2200 words describing the collection of this $15 tax, occupies over two full printed pages of small print text.

9 Comments

  • March 4, 2013 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Note, while I hate to say it, that “Democrat” bike tax in Washington got bipartisan support via a GOP lamebrain. Maybe Ed Orcutt will defect, helping my karma…

  • Jim
    March 5, 2013 - 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Wisconsin charges $20 a year, or $4 a day for a State trail pass for both residents and non-residents alike. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/trailpass.html

  • March 5, 2013 - 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Almost like a toll pass, except for wheeled trail users?

  • March 7, 2013 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Hold on, you are treating it like the money is a theft and disappears. But you acknowledge the money is used for bike infrastructure. If we could genuinely get a great network of bike paths, I’d happily pay $50, $100, maybe even $1,000. We need more bike paths. A LOT more. And it costs money to build them. I don’t mind paying, to the limits of my ability.

  • March 7, 2013 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Who are you referring to? I’m just reporting the facts — Hawaii charges a $15 bike registration fee. I’m curious if anybody charges more than that. $3 to $5 seems about typical.

    But you realize you already *do* pay for bike infrastructure, right? I don’t know where you live, but in San Jose California, the average homeowner pays about $5000 / year in property taxes, and the average Californian pays another $5000 for his state income tax.

  • March 7, 2013 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I probably don’t pay anything for bike infrastructure. Our property taxes (which are much lower) go to a town with no bike paths or sidewalks. State income taxes fund various transportation projects, but the state hasn’t built a bike path in recent memory and I think (although I could be wrong) that existing bike paths are maintained locally or regionally.

  • MikeOnBike
    March 7, 2013 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Richard, we also have transportation sales taxes in many counties. For example, Alameda County (east of San Francisco Bay) has a half cent local transportation sales tax, with (I believe) 5% going to bike/ped projects.

  • March 7, 2013 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Yep, absolutely correct. Similar transportation taxes for many local governments.

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